Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

December 11, 2020

We are here to help.

The Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) brings strength to Iowa's rich heritage.  Our three divisions - Community Action Agencies, Community Advocacy and Services, and Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning - work to reduce cultural, social, and economic barriers to opportunities for Iowans to succeed.

Federal Eviction Moratorium Ends December 31

Reminder: The CDC's moratorium on nonpayment evictions ends on December 31, 2020.  The Order protects renters who meet certain requirements and who sign a declaration form and give it to the landlord. 

Please note that evictions can take place if certain terms of the lease are broken.  Late fees can still be charged, and the obligation to pay rent remains. The process and requirements around the moratorium and evictions can be complex. For information on how to take advantage of the moratorium, visit Iowa Legal Aid's website

If you are unable to pay your rent, here are some resources on rental assistance, housing, and other help. 

Iowa Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act 

The Emergency Solutions Grant program helps prevent households from becoming homeless due to eviction, and assists Iowans experiencing homelessness to quickly regain rental housing.  Examples of assistance available to eligible individuals include rent and utility payments, including in arrears, legal assistance, application fees, security and utility deposits, moving costs, case management and credit repair. All financial assistance is paid directly to landlords and service providers  The assistance will remain available until all funds are exhausted or September 30, 2022.

For assistance and eligibility, call the Housing Recovery help line at 1-833-739-0065 or use the Regional Coordinated Entry Contact Finder to find a service agency in your area

COVID-19 Vaccine 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with federal, state, and local partners to distribute a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.  According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA has rigorous scientific and regulatory processes in place to facilitate development and ensure the safety, effectiveness and quality of COVID-19 vaccines. As people get vaccinated, there are additional systems to conduct ongoing vaccine safety monitoring.

The CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks, wash hands, social distance, and practice other health measures during the pandemic and after getting a vaccine for the best protection from getting and spreading the coronavirus. 

Additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine planning can be found at the following links: 

COVID-19 Surcharges

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is warning Iowans to watch for "COVID-19 surcharges", or fees that businesses are charging to offset the cost of personal protective equipment, increased cleaning or other costs related to the pandemic. Attorney General Miller cautions businesses in passing along expenses to the consumers and advises that businesses should clearly disclose or display surcharges before any service or purchase. If you believe a business’s fee is unfair or hidden, contact the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. For ways to file a complaint, click here, or call 515-281-5926 (in Des Moines area) or 888-777-4590 (outside of the Des Moines area). 

Beware of Scams!

During the pandemic, scammers are using fake emails, texts, social media posts, robocalls, and impostor schemes to steal your money, personal information, or commit identity theft.  With COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, scammers are making fraudulent claims about preventative treatments and early access to the vaccine.  Do not open messages or links that look suspicious or unfamiliar.  Do not give your Social Security number, bank account, passwords, credit card number, or other personal information to anyone who calls or sends you emails and texts. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers advice on how to avoid a scam and and how to report them. The FTC also has information for consumers in multiple languages at

IRS Accessible Resources 

The Internal Revenue Services is working to make their products more accessible. People who need an alternative tax product can download it from the Accessible Forms and Publications page.  The page contains resources on disability related products, American Sign Language videos, braille, and more. To request Braille or large print copies, call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676. Qualifying tax payers may also contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service at 1-877-777-4778.

You can still get your first stimulus payment if you missed the 2020 deadline.  

The deadline to register online for the first stimulus payment has passed, but you may still be eligible to receive a payment through the Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 taxes in 2021. For eligibility guidelines, visit

Mental Wellness during the Holidays 

We are living through difficult times, and the stressors of 2020 can impact our mental health. Taking care of your health and maintaining mental wellness is important, especially with the holidays approaching. Here are some resources to help manage stress and stay healthy. 

DART Reduced Fare Programs

Did you know that the Des Moines Are Regional Transit Authority (DART), Iowa's public transit agency, has Reduced Fare Programs?  Eligible residents include adults 65 and older, persons with disabilities, students, veterans, and refugees.  For more information and the application process, visit

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 testing appointments at Test Iowa locations are filling up. Before heading to a Test Iowa site, complete the assessment first at and schedule an appointment to be tested at any location. Call Test Iowa with questions about testing: 515-575-2131 or 844-844-1561 (toll free), 8 am - 8 pm seven days a week (except Holidays).  

In addition to Test Iowa locations, coronavirus tests are available at Hy-Vee, select pharmacies like Walgreens, and some medical/health centers.  Call ahead or visit their websites for more information, hours, and to make an appointment. 

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps qualifying low-income Iowa homeowners and renters pay for a portion of their primary heating costs for the winter heating season. The application period is November 1, 2020 - April 30, 2021. Customers who qualify for LIHEAP are protected from having their natural gas and electric utilities disconnected from November 1 to April 1.

Applications are taken at your local community action agency.  Anyone facing disconnection at any time should contact their local community action agency for assistance.

To find your local agency, visit, or contact the Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) at (515) 242-5655 or 1-800-351-4659. LIHEAP information is available in multiple languages on the DHR's website.  

COVID-19 Language Resources

American Sign Language Videos-CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Resources for Limited English Proficient Populations

Congolese Health Partnership Videos

Coronavirus, State Website

Crescent Community Health Center-Marshallese Language

EMBARC Ethnic Minorities of Burma and Advocacy and Resource Center

Hawaii Office of Language Access-Youtube

Iowa Department of Human Rights-Language Access

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa Spanish Helpline 515-344-3936 

Multi-Lingual Hotline  1-877-558-2609

Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa  

Test Iowa-Free COVID-19 Testing (Spanish available)

Previous Newsletters

November 25, 2020

November 13, 2020

October 30, 2020

October 16, 2020

October 2, 2020


Are there other resources we should know about? Let us know.

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Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-242-5640 or 1-800-351-4659
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